INDIANAPOLIS - Vernon Forrest's stay in Indianapolis got off to a shaky start Wednesday evening.
Forrest, an Augusta native, cut short a public workout for Saturday's WBC welterweight championship fight against "Sugar" Shane Mosley when Forrest's explicit music, blaring over the Conseco Fieldhouse lobby loudspeakers, was shut off by fight officials.
After sparring and shadow-boxing for close to an hour in front of about 100 people, Forrest exited the temporary ring and began skipping rope to the beat of Jermaine Dupree's Welcome to Atlanta (Remix).
When the song's lyrics turned explicit on more than one occasion, the music was halted - probably because of the number of children in attendance for the workout and the young fans filtering into the arena for Wednesday night's Indiana Fever-Los Angeles Sparks WNBA game.
The decision didn't sit well with Forrest.
After jumping rope for another 30 seconds, Forrest stopped the workout and his entourage packed up their gear and exited the building via the lobby elevator. He did not talk to the media or sign autographs for fans.
To Forrest's co-trainer, Al Mitchell, his fighter's decision was understandable.
"I wouldn't like it either," Mitchell said. "We've been dancing and training to that music the whole time."
TO BOLDLY TALK: Although Forrest gave him his only professional loss last January, Mosley declared himself ready for the rematch and ready to reclaim the title of "best pound-for-pound fighter" in the world.
At least that's his opinion.
"I'm a lot quicker, a lot stronger and a lot sharper this time," Mosley said. "I'm ready for anything that comes my way. I'm going to pick him apart and show the world that I'm the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
THE CREATION OF SUGAR SHANE: While talking about Saturday's fight at a post-workout news conference, Mosley flashed the occasional grin.
That changed, however, when a media member asked him why he was given the nickname "Sugar."
His face immediately broke out into a big smile.
"I've had that since I was 8 growing up in California," Mosley said. "They just gave it to me, and I said OK and took it. It's a tribute to Sugar Ray Robinson. I guess it's because they say I fight just like Sugar."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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